The Chronicle began covering the coronavirus crisis before the first cases were reported in the Bay Area and a pandemic was declared. We reorganized the newsroom to dedicate nearly every resource to stories focusing on the health and economic disasters. Every day we have published live updates to reflect the most critical local, national and global updates on COVID-19, and this news is free of charge in an effort to keep our community safe and informed.
• Read the previous batch of updates from April 15-16.
• Read the next batch of updates for April 19-20.
• See the full timeline.
Updates from Saturday, April 18:
11:54 p.m. Pakistan mosques open for Ramadan: As Pakistan’s daily reported case numbers inch upward, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government buckled to pressure from religious clerics and refused to order mosques closed during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, the Associated Press reports. Pakistan recorded 7,993 confirmed cases on Sunday, an increase of 514. The virus has claimed 159 lives.
11:48 p.m. Back to the beach in Florida: Photos and videos showed people dotting Florida’s shoreline, closer than six feet apart, on Saturday, a day after Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis gave the go-ahead for local governments to reopen beaches as they saw fit. On the day that Florida reported 58 COVID-19 deaths — its highest daily toll since the pandemic began — DeSantis told reporters Floridians need to get exercise outdoors, the Washington Post reported. #FloridaMorons trended on Twitter.
11:30 p.m. National Park Week goes virtual to celebrate: It’s National Park Week, but with national park sites all around the country closed to varying degrees, the National Park Service is serving up online fare to help people celebrate their national treasures. From home, you can still journey to the parks through virtual tours, scavenger hunts, trivia contests and junior ranger programs, with a different theme each day of the week, National Parks Traveler reports.
11:05 p.m. Civil rights panel urges feds to address hate crimes, racial disparities during pandemic: The federal Commission on Civil Rights is calling on the federal government “to remain vigilant in enforcing civil rights laws” during the coronavirus pandemic, citing reports of hate crimes and civil rights violations regarding voting, prisoners and Native American communities. In a six-page statement Friday, the panel singled out the Environmental Protection Agency for essentially suspending “their entire enforcement activity” in new COVID-19 guidance. In saying, it will “consider the circumstances, including the COVID-19 pandemic, when determining whether an enforcement response is appropriate,” EPA’s guidance “directly communicates to the regulated community that their compliance is merely voluntary” on clean air and water rules, the commission said. With public health at risk, the civil rights implications of detrimental environmental conditions must not be ignored, the statement said.
10:16 p.m. Virginia youth detention center has outbreak: Coronavirus has erupted in a juvenile detention center in Virginia with 25 kids testing positive, accounting for a quarter of all cases reported at youth facilities nationwide, the Associated Press reports. Children’s rights and health experts have called on Gov. Ralph Northam to release as many children as possible from centers, including the newly hit Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center, housing kids from 11 years old to 20.
9:43 p.m. Pork processor under pressure to close: More than a dozen Iowa elected officials are imploring Tyson Fresh Meats to close its Waterloo pork processing plant, saying the coronavirus is spreading among workers and is endangering both employees and the surrounding community, the Associated Press reported. Mayors, county officials and state legislators signed the letter to Tyson.
9:35 p.m. Contamination at CDC laboratory faulted for bad tests: Sloppy lab practices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caused contamination that rendered the nation’s first coronavirus tests ineffective, federal officials confirmed Saturday. Two of the three CDC laboratories in Atlanta that created the coronavirus test kits violated their own manufacturing standards, resulting in the agency sending tests that did not work to nearly all of the 100 state and local public health labs, the New York Times and other news outlets reported.
9:20 p.m. Surge in Singapore: Singapore has reported a daily record of 942 coronavirus infections that saw its total surge to 5,992. The sharp one-day spike in the tiny city-state of nearly 6 million people is the highest seen in Southeast Asia, the Associated Press reports. The number of cases more than doubled this past week amid an upsurge among foreign workers staying in crowded dormitories.
9:13 p.m. Nations issue plea for united response: Thirteen countries including Britain, Brazil, Italy and Germany are calling for global cooperation to lessen the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In a joint statement the group committed to “work with all countries to coordinate on public health, travel, trade, economic and financial measures in order to minimize disruptions and recover stronger.” They said key transport hubs should stay open and stressed the critical role of the scientific community in providing guidance to governments, according to the Associated Press.
8:55 p.m. COVID-19 patients said to suffer kidney failure in significant numbers: A surge in coronavirus patients experiencing kidney failure is causing a shortage of dialysis machines, supplies and fluids required to provide care, according to a New York Times report. Less known than the respiratory aspect of COVID-19, is that 20% to 40% of coronavirus patients in intensive care experienced kidney failure and required emergency dialysis, according to kidney specialists’ estimates cited by the Times.
8:37 p.m. ‘This is killing our community,’ Magic says: Former NBA stars Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley, along with Sean Diddy Combs, pleaded with black people to take the coronavirus seriously and improve their own health to better withstand it. Noting COVID-19’s disproportionate death toll among African Americans, they spoke on a CNN program with Don Lemon highlighting the issue. “We gotta do what we’re supposed to do,” Johnson said. “Stay at home. Social distancing.” Barkley said he’s moderated his eating and drinking and is working out at home to stay healthy during shelter-at-home rules.
8:09 p.m. Fremont police could put your photo on Twitter if you don’t stay apart: Fremont Police so far are not citing people for social-distance violations, but apparently hope to make headway through bad behavior photos on Twitter. Police on Saturday posted a photo — too distant to see the faces, however — of a group playing volleyball at William Hopkins Junior High School. “This is definitely not social distancing or allowed,” under new coronavirus rules, the police tweet said. “Please help us by following the rules and sheltering at home. Taking a walk, hike or jog is allowed, but organized sports at the local Jr High is not.”
7:49 p.m. Contact tracing will be the new reality: When the Bay Area finally emerges from sheltering in place, contact tracing to learn who has been exposed to the coronavirus will be the first line of defense against a new outbreak. The tracing will require an army of trained workers — possibly thousands across the Bay Area and even more statewide — who will help make sure that infectious people are kept separate from others. Read the story by Erin Allday and Carolyn Said.
7:16 p.m. Push in Maryland to lift coronavirus restrictions: A caravan of vehicles swarmed Annapolis streets Saturday, with activists demanding a halt to Maryland’s restrictions against the coronavirus, the Washington Post reports. And a group of Republican politicians is encouraging Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to reopen businesses, schools and churches in the rural areas they represent first, even if urban areas must remain closed.
6:55 p.m. Millions of dollars worth of protective equipment went from the U.S. to China: U.S. manufacturers shipped face masks and other protective medical equipment worth millions to China in January and February, with encouragement from the federal government, according to a Washington Post review of economic data and internal government documents. Those exported items’ value jumped more than 1,000% compared to the previous year’s shipments, the Post found, noting the move underscored the Trump administration’s failure to recognize and prepare for the pandemic threat.
6:35 p.m. Rep. Barbara Lee to host Facebook Live on coronavirus: Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, plans a Facebook Live discussion with Van Jones, political commentator and CEO of REFORM Alliance, at 3 p.m. Wednesday.Viewers can submit questions to them by filling out this Google Doc. They will focus on how the coronavirus is impacting communities of color and people in the criminal justice system.
5:55 p.m. Hundreds of Nevada protesters call for lifting stay-home order: Demonstrators at the State Capitol in Carson City demanded Saturday that Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak reopen the state’s economy and lift a stay-at-home order, the Associated Press reports. News media video showed protesters waving U.S. flags and signs such as “Stop the Tyranny.” The protests follow President Trump’s encouragement of lifting state restrictions, with his Friday tweets including “Liberate Michigan! and “Liberate Minnesota!”
5:38 p.m. Brazil protesters denounce pandemic lockdown: Hundreds of people protested coronavirus lockdown measures in Brazilian states. About 100 vehicles in Rio de Janeiro caused temporary shut down of Copacabana Beach, the Associated Press reports. The protests came a day after President Jair Bolsonaro, a fierce critic of the stay-home measures because of their economic harm, fired his health minister who had been promoting isolation measures.
5:21 p.m. Lady Gaga kicks off remote coronavirus concert: Seated behind a white piano in a sunny room, Lady Gaga kicked off the “One World: Together at Home” coronavirus event. It aired Saturday from performers’ remote locations on multiple TV stations and Youtube to honor first responders and those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. “I care so much about all of the medical workers that are putting their lives at risk for us right now,” Gaga said. “I pray for them everyday, and I’m also thinking about all of you that are at home who are wondering when all of this is going to be different. What I’d like to do tonight … is just give you the permission to, for a moment — smile, though your heart is breaking.” Gaga transitioned into an upbeat version of “Smile.” Stevie Wonder, with his own remote performance of “Lean on Me,” and Paul McCartney with “Lady Madonna,” followed next to lead off the star-studded cast.
5:00 p.m. Many Bay Area preschools are open: While schools remain shuttered to protect kids during the coronavirus pandemic, many preschools and childcare centers are open, including facilities in Richmond and Antioch planning to reopen Monday. Approximately 90 child-care programs, most in homes, in San Francisco are operating, The Chronicle’s Ron Kroichick reports. That’s permitted under shelter-in-place orders, provided the programs serve only children of workers in “essential businesses.”
4:35 p.m. Bay Area residents are up for face masks: The five-county mask mandate has Bay Area residents busily making, procuring and donning face masks, and not just because they fear enforcement fines. “Maybe it’s overkill but it’s better to be safe and to respect what’s happening,” said one man who mused about making his out of a T-shirt.” Read the report by The Chronicle’s Steve Rubenstein.
4:16 p.m. Wondering what to wear while shut in?: Sweats or gym shorts? Springsteen T-shirt or PJs? The Chronicle’s Tony Bravo gave it some thought and checked out an online fashion presentation by San Francisco clothing company Betabrand to consider what’s in vogue for the shelter-in-place lifestyle — including the ultimate coronavirus accessory, the face mask.
4 p.m. San Francisco nursing home among hardest hit: Central Gardens Convalescent in San Francisco is among the hardest hit skilled nursing facilities in the Bay Area, according to a report released Saturday by the California Department of Public Health. The facility has 62 coronavirus cases: 36 patients and 26 staff members.
3:55 p.m. U.S. is borrowing without precedent: The government and corporations are taking on trillions of dollars of debt to offset the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic, the Washington Post reports. Economists say this record borrowing will leave the economy more vulnerable than before the crisis began. The Post says the federal government is on its way this year to spending $4 trillion more than it collects, a budget deficit roughly twice as large relative to the economy as in any year since 1945.
3:12 p.m. Los Angeles County reports highest number of deaths: LA County reported 81 new deaths from the coronavirus on Saturday, its highest figure yet, and 642 new cases. The county has 576 deaths — nearly half of California’s total — and 12,021 cases of COVID-19. “Today marks a very sad milestone for our county,” Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, said in a statement.
2:35 p.m. 215 more health care workers infected: California reported Saturday that 3,370 health care workers have tested positive for the coronavirus, up from 3,155 the day before.
1:50 p.m. East Bay counties announce new coronavirus cases and deaths: New reports show Alameda County is up to 1,114 cases and 41 deaths. Contra Costa County has 685 cases and 19 deaths.
1:19 p.m. Oakland community leader dies from coronavirus: Entrepreneur Terry Blanchard, 56, has died. He was known for his big heart and for mentoring at-risk youth, KTVU reports. His wife has recovered from the disease.
1:03 p.m. State procures 15,999 hotel rooms to shelter homeless: Standing outside a Motel 6 in Campbell, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a partnership with Motel 6 to expand Project Roomkey, his initiative to shelter homeless people who are particularly exposed to the coronavirus. The state had already secured 10,974 rooms (with 38% already in use) and Motel 6 added another 5,025, surpassing the state’s goal of 15,000 and setting aside 47 motel buildings in 19 counties. In all, California has 108,000 unsheltered homeless people, the highest concentration per capita in the nation. Read the full story here.
12:58 p.m. State monitoring nursing homes and assisted-living sites: COVID-19 breakouts have hit three Tulare County nursing home sites, Gov. Gavin Newsom said, situations that “would break your heart when you learn more about them.” He added that the pandemic is not just an urban problem. The state is monitoring 400 similar facilities with positive cases across the state, with 3,500 staff and patients in those sites.
12:38 p.m. Stimulus payment questions answered: Are dead people getting stimulus checks? Can banks take the federal Cares Act money to offset a debt? Kathleen Pender answers these and other reader questions about the stimulus payments.
12:31 p.m. Newsom announces 87 new coronavirus deaths in California: The governor said the state recorded 87 new deaths, bringing the total to 1,072. Additionally the state saw a 1.3 % rise in people hospitalized and a 0.1 % drop in ICU patients, while the total number of cases in the state rose by 5.3%, he said during a briefing in Campbell. “We’ve certainly flattened the curve, the question is when are we going to see it decline,” the governor said.
12:30 p.m. Will coronavirus force baseball to clean up its act? Baseball players spit a lot, and that presents the sport with a unique challenge as it develops plans to return to action after the pandemic. “There is a lot of saliva exchanged in baseball,” said Dr. George Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the UCSF School of Medicine. “It’s like a high school dance when I think about it.” Read Susan Slusser’s story on baseball’s hygiene problem here.
12:06 p.m. San Francisco kids will be taught on TV: To help kids learn during the pandemic, the San Francisco Unified School District has created a one-hour TV show for prekindergarten through second grade. “SF Loves Learning” will air on KTVU Plus at 2 p.m. weekdays through June 2. The content will be created by San Francisco public school educators and guests and will include a daily lesson plus “wiggles and dance,” the district announced.
11:55 a.m. Newsom says California working with AmericaCorps and CalVolunteers on tracing: Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state is working with AmericaCorps and CalVolunteers on contact tracing, one of the pillars of his plan to eventually relax California’s shelter-in-place restrictions. “We are asking people, thousands of folks, to be part of this corps,” he said, while acknowledging the impact on privacy inherent in contact tracing. Click here to read about San Francisco’s plan for contact tracing.
11:49 a.m. Newsom says state should ramp up to 25,000 COVID-19 tests a day next week: In an interview with former president Bill Clinton, Gov. Gavin Newsom touted California’s rapidly expanding test capacity, saying that next week 20,000 to 25,000 tests will be available each day. The biggest limitation so far has been the number of swabs and the state’s ability to transport them, Newsom said. He expects that to change as health officials switch to antibody tests.
11:16 a.m. Newsom says California sent 50 ventilators to Michigan: In addition to hundreds of ventilators California has already sent to other states, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that the state sent another 50 ventilators to Michigan, a hard-hit state. “We want to do more still,” Newsom said in a conversation with former President Bill Clinton.
11:10 a.m. “A brain surgeon and a dermatologist walk into a bar”: Medical professionals with varying specialties are helping out as drive-through urgent care clinics pop up around the Bay Area like modern MASH units. Read more here.
10:58 a.m. Newsom, Clinton talk about pandemic: California Gov. Gavin Newsom and former President Bill Clinton are holding an online discussion here.
10:38 a.m. Oakland McDonald’s workers walk off the job in protest over safety concerns: Holding signs with slogans such as “PPE Now!” workers at an Oakland McDonald’s walked off the job Saturday. Five cooks and cashiers filed a complaint with the Alameda County Health Department on Saturday, saying the company failed to tell them when a colleague tested positive for coronavirus, that it had not paid sick leave and that it did not provide masks or enforce social distancing guidelines for workers. In a statement Thursday, McDonald’s spokesman David Tovar said the company’s supply chain has secured 100 million nonmedical-grade masks for restaurant employees.
10:23 a.m. State health department details nursing home toll: The California Department of Public Health released the number of COVID-19 cases at the state’s skilled nursing facilities for the first time. Among the hardest-hit facilities in the Bay Area: Gateway Care & Rehabilitation in Hayward, with 102 cases (69 patients, 33 staff members); Canyon Springs Post-Acute Care in San Jose, with 64 cases (39 patients, 25 staff); and Valley House Rehabilitation Center in Santa Clara, with 63 cases (42 patients, 21 staff).
9:48 a.m. Drop in coronavirus deaths in New York: The daily increase in coronavirus deaths in New York state dropped under 550 for the first time in over two weeks as hospitalizations continue to decline, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. Hospitals are still reporting nearly 2,000 new COVID-19 patients per day. The state logged 540 deaths Friday from the COVID-19 virus, the lowest number since April 1.
9:19 a.m. Released inmate tests positive in Ukiah: Mendocino County officials announced that a former inmate, now living in Ukiah, became the county’s fifth confirmed case of COVID-19. The male, age 19-34, was released from a state correctional facility outside the county on April 8 and traveled to Ukiah to stay with a relative, according to a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office news release. The man, who was not identified, tested positive Friday and is in isolation with “active public health monitoring.”
9:06 a.m. Walmart tested by pandemic: Some 10% of Walmart’s workforce is on leave, and there have been at least 18 deaths at the company, the Wall Street Journal reports.
8:58 a.m. Restrictions extended along U.S.-Canada border: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada and the U.S. have agreed to keep their border closed to nonessential travel for another 30 days. The restrictions have been in place since March 18 to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
8:25 a.m. Nine new coronavirus cases on Navy ship in Guam: The Navy announced nine new confirmed cases of the coronavirus among crew on the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier docked in Guam. The vessel has 669 total confirmed patients. Eight are hospitalized, an increase of one from Friday, with one in intensive care.
8:07 a.m. San Francisco’s 1906 quake tradition continues with quiet fire hydrant gesture: Though Mayor London Breed called off the traditional predawn ceremony to commemorate the earthquake and fire that rattled San Francisco in 1906, San Francisco Fire Department officials honored the victims anyway. Early this morning, department spokesman Jonathan Baxter posted Twitter photos of a resident in a green face mask helping firefighters spray a fire hydrant gold at 20th and Church streets. Firefighters and other volunteers decked the hydrant with a calla lily wreath to mark the 114th anniversary of the quake and fire.
7:14 a.m. App that traces coronavirus patients sparks privacy controversy in Europe: Political leaders in France are raising questions about a software system that tells people whether they’ve interacted with someone infected with the coronavirus. Known by the acronym PEPP-PT (Pan-European Privacy Preserving Proximity Tracing), the system is poised to be the technological “backbone” of coronavirus tracing in seven European countries, Reuters reports.
7:07 a.m. Decision on removal of ship’s captain expected soon: The Navy’s top admiral will soon decide the fate of Capt. Brett Crozier, who was fired after pleading for commanders to move faster to safeguard his coronavirus-infected crew on the Theodore Roosevelt nuclear aircraft carrier. In the glare of a public spotlight, Adm. Mike Gilday will decide whether Crozier stepped out of line when he went around his chain of command and sent an email pushing for action to stem the outbreak.
6:56 a.m. Dole donates more than 2 million pounds of produce: Global fruit giant Dole Food Company has sent more than 2 million pounds of produce to U.S. food banks and communities in Latin America that are suffering shortages as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The company said it has spread donations along its supply chain, supplying food to hungry U.S. citizens, hospitals internationally and rural areas of Central and South America, where the company grows tropical fruits.
6:52 a.m. Coronavirus puts governor in tough spot on progressives’ priorities: A soaring economy gave Gov. Gavin Newsom wide latitude during his first year in office to set California on a path to the sweeping liberal agenda he outlined during his campaign. Now, as the coronavirus pandemic plays plays havoc with the state budget, Newsom suddenly faces tough and unexpected choices that may require him to temporarily abandon key policy goals and disappoint allies. Read more here.
6:34 a.m. In Spain, 20,000 dead from COVID-19: Spain has reached 20,000 deaths from the coronavirus and total infections there increased to more than 190,000, the Associated Press reports. Spain’s health authorities reported 565 deaths in the past 24 hours. Only the United States and Italy have more deaths. New infections rose by nearly 4,500.
6:25 a.m. Low test score for California: An ABC-7 analysis of 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia found that California ranks 48th in number of tests done per 1 million people with 6,550.
6:06 a.m. COVID-19 patient describes the feeling: ‘All systems shutting down’: What’s it like when you’re hospitalized with COVID-19? A San Rafael patient details the horrors here.
5:55 a.m. Newsom waives rules for foster care placement during pandemic: Hoping to protect children from abuse and ensure they are cared for as the shelter-in-place period drags on, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Friday that temporarily waives regulations, including caregiver training, certain protocols for complaint investigations and requirements for face-to-face interviews. He said the relaxed rules would allow county welfare agencies and probation departments to continue monitoring children, placing them in care and performing other duties without meeting in person.
5:49 a.m. Wave of cases threatens to collapse Japan hospitals: Hospitals in Japan are increasingly turning away sick people as the country struggles with surging coronavirus infections and its emergency medical system collapses. In one recent case, an ambulance carrying a man with a fever and difficulty breathing was rejected by 80 hospitals and forced to search for hours for a hospital in downtown Tokyo that would treat him. Another feverish man finally reached a hospital after paramedics unsuccessfully contacted 40 clinics. Read more from the Associated Press here.
Updates from Friday, April 17:
9:50 p.m. UCSF offers free testing for all California counties: UC San Francisco will allow all 58 California counties to use its COVID-19 sample analysis, indefinitely, according to university officials. The announcement comes just over a week after UCSF began offering free testing to all Bay Area counties’ public health departments. “This development has been made possible by the recent expansion of UCSF’s COVID-19 test processing capacity at a new UCSF diagnostic laboratory adjacent to the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub,” officials said.
9:09 p.m. Staff member at SF’s Jewish Home & Rehab Center tests positive: A staff member at San Francisco’s Jewish Home & Rehab Center has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to facility officials. “We have been preparing for this and have promptly responded to this using our established protocols,” center officials said. “It is important to note that this staff member has NOT been providing care/service to our COVID-19 positive patients.”
8:55 p.m. Breed clashes with supervisors over homeless response: The pandemic has given San Francisco Mayor London Breed broad powers and made her the face of the crisis. But city supervisors and homeless advocates said the executive branch could have moved faster to aid the homeless, thereby helping to stave off infection in shelters. The Chronicle’s Trisha Thadani has the story.
8:48 p.m. Psychiatric patient at SF General tests positive for coronavirus, other patients exposed: A man admitted to the Psychiatric Emergency Services unit of San Francisco General Hospital exposed other patients to the coronavirus before hospital officials determined that he had COVID-19. Read the full story here.
6:35 p.m. More than 800 COVID-19 complaints filed in Fremont, and property crime is up: Fremont police said they have received 802 complaints, averaging 28 per day, since March 16 related to non-compliance with social social distancing in parks, non-essential businesses and churches continuing to operate. Police have issued several formal warnings but no citations. While overall crime has decreased, property crime is up 30% with spikes in commercial burglaries and auto theft, according to Fremont police.
5:50 p.m. Newsom, Clinton to speak about combating pandemic: Gov. Gavin Newsom will be one of several guests to discuss COVID-19 with former President Bill Clinton in a conversation that will be aired at 1:45 p.m. ET Saturday. The talk is hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative University, which will post the discussion on its social media accounts.
5:47 p.m. Computer programs tell hospitals when they’ll be overwhelmed: Two computer programs that can predict whether, and when, doctors and hospitals will be flooded with COVID-19 patients have been created at Stanford University. The programs, designed by computer engineers, use demographic information to predict when a given county will see surges in infected persons and when a given hospital will run out of hospital beds and supplies. Read Chronicle reporter Steve Rubenstein’s story here.
5:45 p.m. One Medical offering tests for people without symptoms: One Medical, a national primary care provider based in San Francisco, has begun offering coronavirus testing for people without symptoms. It has capacity to do about 2,000 tests per day in the Bay Area. Read the full story here.
5:36 p.m. BART to reduce, cancel Early Bird Express bus routes: BART plans to discontinue six Early Bird Express bus routes and reduce service for another six, officials said Friday. The changes begin Monday, April 27. Ridership has dropped 90% on these routes because of the shelter-in-place order. See a full list of affected routes here.
5:30 p.m. Santa Clara County ‘strongly urges’ residents to wear face coverings: Santa Clara County stopped short of issuing a health order to require face masks like San Francisco and other Bay Area counties. Instead, health officers on Friday issued expanded guidance “strongly urging” people to wear face coverings when performing essential duties in public. “We anticipate significant voluntary compliance,” officials wrote in a statement. Click here to read The Chronicle’s guide to masks.
5 p.m. Bay Area theater company produces Zoom-specific play: Queer Cat Productions’ “Felix B. Love Is Not Alone!” is one of the first scripted, narrative-driven works of local theater to be written specifically for Zoom in the coronavirus era. The first of three interactive episodes premiered Thursday, April 16. Successive episodes will air weekly though April 30. Read the Chronicle’s review here.
4:18 p.m. California job-loss numbers reflect early move to shelter in place: Detailed unemployment figures for the month of March are out, and they show that the Bay Area took an early hit to employment by ordering residents to stay home.
4:17 p.m. S.F. attorney sues over California’s coronavirus ban on religious gatherings: Harmeet Dhillon wants to know why California lets coffee shops and marijuana dispensaries stay open while banning religious services. The state says the coronavirus won’t stay away from mass gatherings just because they’re religious. Chronicle politics reporter John Wildermuth has the story.
3:58 p.m. All U.S. states and territories under major disaster declaration, marking first time in history: President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for American Samoa on Friday, marking the first time in U.S. history that all states and territories are under a disaster declaration. There are 33,000 National Guard members deployed and 5,500 active duty military personnel, including 716 medical professionals, deployed to nine states, said Vice President Mike Pence during a White House news briefing.
3:48 p.m. San Mateo County issues order requiring face masks: San Mateo County has joined several others in the Bay Area in requiring nose and mouth coverings of cloth, fabric, or other soft material when residents go grocery shopping, patronize essential businesses or stand in line. The order, like those in San Francisco and some other counties, will take effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday, but won’t be enforced until Wednesday.
3:46 p.m. Trump says 80 million Americans have received stimulus payments: President Trump said during a White House news briefing that 80 million Americans have received direct deposit stimulus payments as of Friday. People who have not received their money can go to IRS.gov to provide direct deposit information.
3:39 p.m. Federal judge refuses to release large number of California prisoners: A federal judge refused Friday to order California prison officials to release large numbers of inmates or impose social-distancing requirements as protections against the coronavirus, saying the state has acted “reasonably” so far by freeing several thousand prisoners ahead of schedule and taking steps to expand housing and improve sanitation. Read the whole story here.
3:38 p.m. Stanford study suggests many more infections in Santa Clara County than reported: A team of Stanford University scientists testing for coronavirus antibodies have found an infection rate as much as 85 times higher than the number of reported cases in Santa Clara County, the region with the most COVID-19 patients in Northern California. The researchers tested 3,330 Santa Clara County residents ages 19 to 64 on April 3 and 4. Results revealed between 48,000 and 81,000 people were infected in Santa Clara County in early April, when only 1,094 cases had been reported. Read more here.
3:37 p.m. Four more deaths in Santa Clara County: County health officials reported that four more people have died from COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 73 on Friday. There were 37 additional confirmed cases for a total of 1,870. There are 309 cases and 17 deaths linked to the county’s long-term care facilities.
3:36 p.m. U.S. Department of Agriculture announces $19 billion relief program for farmers, ranchers: A $19 billion relief program announced Friday by Sec. Sonny Purdue of the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help farmers and ranchers who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Farmers and ranchers will receive $16 billion in direct payments from the program, and the department will purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat to distribute through food banks.
3:23 p.m. Marin County issues mandatory mask order: Marin County officially released a health order that requires people to wear masks when inside public spaces, in common areas of buildings, seeking health care, riding public transit and working at essential businesses. The order takes effect at midnight and will be enforced Wednesday, April 22. Children under 12 are exempt. People exercising outdoors do not need to wear a mask but should carry one with them. (Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly described the timing of the order. It takes effect tonight and will be enforced on Wednesday.)
3:11 p.m. Tom Steyer, four ex-California governors to advise Gov. Gavin Newsom on path back from coronavirus crash: Newsom tapped every living ex-governor of the state, his chief of staff and billionaire environmental activist Steyer for a task force that will recommend recovery strategies for a variety of regions and industries. Chronicle Sacramento reporter Alexei Koseff has the story.
2:26 p.m. State reports 181 more health care workers infected: State health officials reported 181 additional cases among health care workers, bringing the total to 3,155. This marks a 6% increase from the 2,974 cases reported on Thursday.
2:05 p.m. Oakland school district confirms two cases among distribution volunteers/employees: Two people involved in the food and device distribution programs for Oakland school children have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Oakland Unified School District. The district will not disclose which sites they worked at. Both people were asymptomatic when working, and then within days of their last school visit began feeling ill and later tested positive. Neither have been to a school in more than week. The sites where the infected individuals worked were deep cleaned and reopened. Additional cases among food distribution staff “will not be unexpected,” the district said.
2:16 p.m. Alameda County issues health order requiring face masks: Joining other Bay Area counties, including San Francisco, Alameda County health officer Dr. Erica Pan issued an order requiring people to wear face coverings beginning at midnight Friday. Enforcement will begin April 22. Face coverings, which can be homemade, should be worn at essential businesses, when seeking health care and on public transportation. The order does not apply to children under 12 or people when they are walking, running or biking. Wearing a mask does not replace physical distancing and staying at home, which are also still required.
1:59 p.m. Muni director says stay off system if you can: Jeffrey Tumlin, director of SFMTA, again reminded the public that only essential workers and people completing essential trips should ride Muni. Anyone with a different option — walking, biking, driving to their destination — should do that instead. Transit riders must wear face coverings beginning at midnight tonight to protect the health of other riders and Muni operators.
1:58 p.m. San Francisco crime still down, though burglaries persist: Crime in the city is down 25% since last week, said Police Chief Bill Scott, continuing a reduction in crime since the quarantine began. The department has issued nine citations and multiple warnings to individuals and businesses who break the stay-at-home order, but the majority of people are compliant. Scott said burglaries remain a challenge, but the department has made several arrests and the district attorney’s office has charged those suspects with looting.
1:56 p.m. California records 1,000th death from COVID-19: With Los Angeles County reporting 40 new deaths from the disease, the state’s total stood at 1,021. Nearly 200 of them have been in the Bay Area. Los Angeles has more than half of the total deaths. It has reported 537 and 11,391 confirmed cases.
1:49 p.m. San Francisco will fence off Golden Gate Park for 4/20: San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who has emphatically told revelers to stay indoors for 4/20, said in a briefing Friday afternoon that the city would fence off Golden Gate Park. Police officers will be out in force to prevent anyone from gathering at Hippie Hill or other grassy aresa known for the annual celebration of marijuana.
1:46 p.m. Cal State system suspends standardized testing requirement: The 23-campus California State University system announced it will suspend the use of SAT and ACT exams as a factor in determining academic eligibility for the 2021-22 school year. “This temporary change will ensure equitable access to the university, and should provide some measure of relief to prospective students and their families,” Chancellor Timothy P. White said in a statement. University of California officials announced a similar decision on April 1.
1:38 p.m. Newsom administration not releasing $1 billion California contract for coronavirus masks: Lawmakers have questions about the state’s well-publicized contract for 200 million masks a month from a Chinese company. They’re not getting many answers. Chronicle Sacramento reporter Dustin Gardiner has the story.
1:24 p.m. San Francisco offers reduced-fare taxi trips for vulnerable residents: Seniors and people with disabilities will be able to sign up for a program that offers up to three reduced-price taxi rides per month, Mayor London Breed said during a news conference. Taxi rides will be 20% of the regular fare for members of the program, which is available for people who need to take essential trips but fear riding the bus and have mobility challenges.
1:18 p.m. San Francisco requiring face coverings: Mayor London Breed said during a news conference that people in San Francisco will be required to wear face coverings beginning at midnight tonight. People must wear them standing in line outside grocery stores, inside essential businesses and while working in essential functions — but not for exercise or while driving your car. It does not apply to children 12 and younger. (Correction: An earlier version of this post said the face mask requirement will begin Wednesday. That’s when the city plans to begin enforcing it. The order takes effect at midnight.)
1:10 p.m. Markets rise: The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 3% for the day and 2% for the week after several volatile days. Hope for COVID-19 treatments appeared to spur the markets higher.
1:09 p.m. Ousted captain of stricken Navy ship “well and in good spirits”: More than two weeks after former Theodore Roosevelt commanding officer Capt. Brett Crozier was removed from his post and tested positive for coronavirus, the Santa Rosa native remains quarantined in a Guam residence in good health. Read more here.
1:06 p.m. California chief justice says courts lack info on jail conditions during coronavirus outbreak: Despite gaining unprecedented authority over local courts during the coronavirus outbreak, California’s chief justice says she and other judicial leaders still lack information on conditions in county jails and the impact of the virus on everyone in the justice system — defendants, victims and the public. Read the full story here.
12:57 p.m. Newsom asks governors not to play politics as different states resume life before others: Gov. Gavin Newsom said people entering California from other states for essential business are subjected to orders that state has implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus, adding that it is concerning some states may ease their restrictions before others but the spread of the virus must continue to be considered. “As it relates to the governors, the advice is: do the right thing, don’t play politics, don’t do the expedient — think about not just the short term but the long term,” Newsom said.
12:49 p.m. Petaluma ice cream company to close due to the coronavirus: Considered the nation’s first organic ice cream chain, Three Twins was sold nationwide in grocery stores and from its own scoop shops. On Friday, founder and CEO Neil Gottlieb said the company would cease operations immediately because the business had required an infusion of capital even before the pandemic, and that option was no longer available.
12:41 p.m. More than 3,500 cases in state’s senior care, nursing facilities: Gov. Gavin Newsom said more than 3,500 people have tested positive for the coronavirus at senior care and skilled nursing facilities in the state, including one in Tulare County, where 157 had tested positive. “I just cannot impress upon folks more — this knows no geography, it knows certainly no party, it knows no region,” Newsom said. “This is impacting all of us.”
12:37 p.m. Gig-work law loosened for musicians, though coronavirus has decimated gigs: With ironic timing, unions, independent musician groups and legislators have arrived at new language that lets most musicians keep playing gigs as independent workers. The update to AB5, California’s gig-work law, comes as most opportunities to perform have been shut down by the coronavirus emergency.
12:36 p.m. Stay-at-home orders enforced in Santa Rosa: Police in Santa Rosa have begun ticketing violators of stay-at-home orders, Police Chief Rainer Navarro announced in a YouTube video. The citations come with fines of up to $1,000 and could land you in jail for up to six months, Navarro said.
12:31 p.m. Veterans who didn’t file taxes can now get stimulus payment automatically: The U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS announced Friday that they are working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to make sure that veterans and their families who did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return but receive Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefit payments will receive their economic impact payments automatically. The IRS has previously said that people who did not file a return but are receiving Social Security, railroad retirement and Supplemental Security Income benefits can get their payments automatically, the same way they receive their other benefits.
12:22 p.m. Former governors among group exploring economic recovery: Former governors Jerry Brown, Pete Wilson, Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as former presidential candidate Tom Steyer, will lead a group formed to develop a strategy to help California recover from a recession induced by the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday. “It is in the how we recover that I think, ultimately, we will be judged and judge ourselves,” Newsom said.
12:07 p.m. California sees highest number of deaths in a day: Gov. Gavin Newsom said a record 95 more people died of COVID-19 from Thursday to Friday, increasing the total number of deaths to 985. Newsom pleaded with people to continue practicing social distancing.
12:05 p.m. 3.1 million Californians have filed for unemployment since March 12: Gov. Gavin Newsom said 3.1 million have applied for unemployment insurance in the state since March 12, declaring the state is in a pandemic-induced recession. “These are sober and challenging times,” Newsom said.
12:04 p.m. Judge rejects demand to increase social distancing and reduce population in California prisons: A federal judge has denied an emergency request to depopulate California’s overcrowded state prisons and boost social distancing in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Siding with state lawyers, U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar ruled Friday that the prison system has already taken “numerous and significant” steps to reduce viral spread, adding that some social distancing measures “might prove impossible to implement given the need for inmate-staff interactions and in light of security concerns.” Attorneys for prisoners have said the state isn’t doing enough and must release or relocate large numbers of inmates, particularly those who are elderly or medically vulnerable to the virus.
12:02 p.m. San Francisco’s Camp Mather cancels season over coronavirus concerns: Camp Mather, the San Francisco-owned family camp west of Yosemite National Park, will not operate this year because of the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department announced Friday.
11:53 a.m. Major League Soccer won’t play in May: The North American pro soccer league announced that operations will continue to be halted at least through June 8 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
11:52 a.m. More than 900 cases on French ship: The French Navy is investigating how the coronavirus infected more than 900 sailors aboard the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, which is undergoing a lengthy disinfection process since returning to its home base in Toulon five days ago. One person remains in intensive care and some 20 others hospitalized, Navy spokesman Commander Eric Lavault told the Associated Press.
11:48 a.m. Texas loosening restrictions on retailers: Texas plans to cut back on some restrictions implemented to curb the spread of the coronavirus as early as next Friday when a “Retail-To-Go” system will go into effect and allow retail outlets in the state to reopen under the condition they deliver items to customers’ cars, homes or other locations. Gov. Greg Abbott also said in a statement schools will remain closed for the 2019-2020 school year and certain restrictions on surgeries will be loosened.
11:39 a.m. Swift shows nixed: Taylor Swift is canceling all of her performances and appearances for the rest of the year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
11:36 a.m. Fremont police warn residents of scams: Authorities in Fremont are warning residents of scammers who ask people for their bank information, send phony emails trying to obtain personal information, pitch frauds through robocalls and use social media trying to obtain information or money. Among the tips offered: Don’t be rushed (scammers rush you, legitimate people don’t), check it out (research facts) and talk to someone you trust before you act.
11:32 a.m. Five new cases in Napa County: Five more people in Napa County have tested positive for the coronavirus, increasing the total in the county to 44, officials said Friday.
11:19 a.m. Coronavirus cases spike in Africa: The head of the World Health Organization says he’s concerned by a recent jump in COVID-19 cases across Africa. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says in the last week there has been a 51% increase in cases and a 60% jump in deaths. He says due to a lack of testing “it’s likely the real numbers are higher than reported.” Tedros says WHO and partners are working to boost Africa’s testing capacity and that 1 million test kits would be rolled out across the continent starting next week.
11:13 a.m. Comic-Con San Diego canceled: The San Diego Comic-Con has been canceled for the first time in its 50-year history due to the coronavirus outbreak, organizers said Friday. People who purchased entry badges can request a refund or transfer them to next summer, when the gathering is expected to return.
11 a.m. Bay Area officials warn some N95 masks not effective against coronavirus spread: Bay Area health care professionals are warning residents who stockpiled disposable N95 respirators during the wildfires that not all face masks are created equal when it comes to slowing the transmission of the coronavirus. While standard N95 respirators can reduce the wearer’s exposure to 95% of airborne particles, masks with built-in exhalation valves pose a potentially serious issue. Read the whole story here.
10:53 a.m. Poll finds fewer Americans concerned about the coronavirus, but concerns still high: The number of people in the United States who are “very concerned” they or someone they know will contract COVID-19 decreased this week while the number of people who reported not being very concerned increased, FiveThirtyEight.com reports. But the number of people who reported being very concerned still remains high, with 33.7% saying they are very concerned and 37.8% somewhat concerned.
10:28 a.m. Trump blames WHO for misleading or lying about coronavirus threat: In a series of tweets, President Trump on Friday accused World Health Organization officials of ignoring an email from Taiwanese health officials in late December that the coronavirus could be transmitted between humans.
….in January and February, as the Virus spread globally? Why did the W.H.O. wait as long as it did to take decisive action? Lanhee Che
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- Jamaica Declares a State of Emergency After Violence Rocks the Montego Bay AreaCoronavirus news from the Bay Area: April 17-18 have 7994 words, post on www.sfchronicle.com at April 24, 2020. This is cached page on WP Discuss. If you want remove this page, please contact us.